BB3 1stresponder

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Misuse of Radioactive Material; First Responder Considerations: 

Misuse of Radioactive Material; First Responder Considerations Prepared by Brooke Buddemeier, CHP LLNL Counter Terrorism and Incident Response Program Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory* (925) 423-2627 UCRL-PRES-149903

First Responder Considerations: 

First Responder Considerations

A Case Study: Goiania, Brazil 1987: 

A Case Study: Goiania, Brazil 1987 When a hospital changed locations, a radiation therapy unit was temporarily left behind. Scrap metal hunters found the unit and dismantled it for scrap metal (~ Sept 18th). The 1.4 kiloCi (1,400 Ci) Cs-137 source containment was breached during the process. Pieces of source distributed to family and friends. Everyone was impressed by “the glowing blue stones.” Children & adults played with them. Serious radiological accident recognized on Sept 29th when Acute Radiation Syndrome symptoms where recognized by hospital staff.

Initial Response: 

Initial Response 112,000 people (10 % of Goiania’s population) were surveyed at an Olympic Stadium. 250 were identified as contaminated 50 contaminated people were isolated in a camping area inside the Olympic Stadium for more detailed screening 20 people were hospitalized or transferred to special housing with medical and nursing assistance 8 patients transferred to the Navy Hospital in Rio de Janeiro Residential contamination survey was initiated

Early Consequences: 

Early Consequences Widespread contamination of downtown Goiania 85 residences found to have significant contamination (41 of these were evacuated and a few were completely or partially demolished) People cross-contaminated houses 100 miles away Hot Spots at 3 scrap metal yards and one house

Radiation Injuries and Uptakes: 

Radiation Injuries and Uptakes 4 fatalities (2 men, 1 woman and 1 child) 28 patients had radiation induced skin injuries (they held/played with the source for extended periods) 50 people had internal deposition (ingestion)


Conclusions Long and expensive clean-up effort. Profound psychological effects such as fear and depression on large populations Isolation and boycott of goods by neighbors

Response to a Radiological Incident ~ Contamination ~: 

Response to a Radiological Incident ~ Contamination ~ Monitor and isolate contaminated area Evacuate and “gross decon” victims (removal of outer clothing is an effective gross decontamination method) Avoid breathing in radioactive material Shelter in place (close windows, turn off heating and A/C) Evacuate, when safe to do so Wear respiratory protection Radioactive material will not be uniformly distributed. Radiation “Hot Spots” near the source of the event will be a hazard.

Response to a Radiological Incident ~ Radiation ~: 

Response to a Radiological Incident ~ Radiation ~ Time: Limit the time spent in an areas of high radiation Distance: Exposure decreases dramatically as you increase your distance from the source. Shielding: Radiation is blocked by mass. When practical, operate behind objects (fire trucks, buildings, etc..)

Radiological Considerations for Public Protective Actions: 

Radiological Considerations for Public Protective Actions The EPA has developed Protective Action Guides (PAG) the help responders determine when evacuation is necessary: Shelter & Evacuation PAGs are based on 1 & 5 rem exposures to the public. Emergency phase PAGs are based on a 4 day exposure to “re-suspended” material and is dependant on weather. Developed for acute exposures (such as at a power plant accident), these guidelines are conservative for chronic internal exposures.

Example: Brazil’s 1.37 kCi (1,370 Ci) Cs-137 Source Made Into a “Dirty Bomb”: 

Example: Brazil’s 1.37 kCi (1,370 Ci) Cs-137 Source Made Into a “Dirty Bomb” Despite the accident in Brazil, sources of this strength are very difficult to obtain. This model assumes “worse case” in that: The source was 100% aerosolized Lots of explosive (~ 10 sticks of dynamite) Presumes exposed populations “stood outside” during the exposure period. Effects dependant on weather

Detectable Ground Contamination Can be Found Miles Downwind: 

Detectable Ground Contamination Can be Found Miles Downwind ≥ 0.2 uCi/m2 Can be detected with thin window G-M meter ≥ 2 uCi/m2 Can be detected with dose rate meter


Release: 1.3 KCi CS-137 RDD with 5 lbs HE Deposited Contamination San Francisco Example: Ground Contamination Can be Detected East of Berkeley Hills HYPOTHETICAL Release location: San Francisco Police Department, 850 Bryant 37° 46’ 31” N 122° 24’ 15” W 100% Aerosolized release fraction Strong afternoon west winds 18-25 mph. Map size: 25 x 25 km

Despite Widespread Contamination, There Are Relatively Small Exposures: 

Despite Widespread Contamination, There Are Relatively Small Exposures ≥1 REM EPA Shelter Area Less than 0.1 Miles Downwind 0.01 – 0.1 REM out to 2 miles [Dose Similar To a Chest X ray or 10% of natural background]


Release: 1.3 KCi CS-137 RDD with 5 lbs HE 4-Day Dose (Internal + External) Evacuation/Relocation PAG Los Angeles Example: EPA PAG Would Recommend Shelter/Evacuation of a Few Residential Blocks Release location: Burbank Police Department 34 10' 60"N, 118 18' 31"W 100% Aerosolized release fraction Normal summertime west-northwest winds, 10-12 mph. Map size: 6 x 6 km HYPOTHETICAL

Conclusion: First Responder Considerations: 

Conclusion: First Responder Considerations Acute health effects from radiation dose are unlikely without prolonged, high concentration exposure. Contamination readily detectable at long distances. Medical emergencies take precedent over radiological monitoring. Wear respiratory protection, isolate area. Use decontamination techniques (removing outer clothing most effective) Call for assistance


References Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) Predictive Modeling Provided By HotSpot Health Physics Code v2.0, Steve Homann LLNL National Release Advisory Center, LLNL (http:/ Gioania References Provided By IAEA-TECDOC-1009, “Dosimetric and medical aspects of the radiological accident in Goiania in 1987,” June 1998, International Atomic Energy Agency. Radiation Emergency Assistance Services (SAER) from the Institute for Radiation Protection & Dosimetry (IRD), BRAZIL, Raul dos Santos. Dr. Henry B. Spitz, Professor of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering, Department of Mechanical, Industrial & Nuclear Engineering, University of Cincinnati Dr. Jose Julio Rozental Bernardo Dantas, Instituto de Radioprotecao Dosimetria, Brasil

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